Dubsism

What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions

Movies Everybody Loves That I Hate – Episode 15: “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

  • Today’s Movie: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • Year of Release: 1986
  • Stars: Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara
  • Director: John Hughes

This movie is not on my list of essential films.

NOTE: This installment of Movies Everybody Loves That I Hate is being done as part of something called The Fake Teenager Festivus being hosted by Taking Up Room. Once I saw that theme, I knew it was my chance to excoriate a movie I’ve had on my list literally since I discovered the film blogging community. Maybe you hate this movie too, but probably not; hence the title of this series, I thought I was the only until my fandom of the late Gilbert Gottfried led me to discover otherwise.

Having said that, it’s time for me to share are why I would rather chug a quart of jet fuel and shove a lit highway flare up my ass than sit through this movie again.

You can see all the contributors to this blog-a-thon here:

1) Why did anybody like like Ferris?

To me, this movie could just as easily be a mystery. How does a guy with such universally dislikeable characters become a “righteous dude” in the eyes of the sportos, motorheads, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads, et cetera, ad naueum…I can understand teen-agers identifying with Ferris Bueller (played by Matthew Broderick) considering he spends the whole movie jamming it to adults, but eventually even the even the dumbest kid out there has to realize Ferris is little more than a charming, yet completely narcissistic sociopath. That’s because when he not laying the dick-jobs on adults, he does it to most of the kids around him as well.

2) No wonder his sister hates him.

For most of the movie, Ferris’ bitchily acerbic sister Jeanie (played by Jennifer Grey) is one of only two actually honest important characters in this film (Principal Rooney is the other; I’ll get to him in a bit). Ferris barely acknowledges her existence, and she plays witness to all his shenanigans while seemingly having no ability to pull any of her own. No wonder she resents him, especially since she’s the one who sees what a smarmy, self-absorbed little shithead Ferris is.

But then she changes direction, given her legitimate kicking the shit out of Rooney and some quasi-questionable advice from some strange punk (feel free to insert your own “Charlie Sheen in a police station” jokes here). I would have loved the “Jeanie” character if she had told Charlie Sheen to go fuck himself and then ratted out Ferris. That couldn’t happen in this movie because Principal Rooney is the equivalent of Warner Brothers “Wile E. Coyote;” no matter how obnoxious the Roadrunner is, nobody ever roots for the Coyote.

3) He treats his best friend like shit.

As long as I am on cartoon references, Cameron (played by Alan Ruck) would be “Eeyore” from Winnie the Pooh. While you never see it in the cartoon, Eeyore has the low self-esteem of somebody who has an abusive parent. He never gets bullied, which is the main difference between Eeyore and Cameron. To hear Cameron tell it, he and Ferris have been “besties” since the 5th grade, which is amazing considering how Ferris treats him. The sad reality is for every abuser, there’s somebody who tolerates being abused.

What else explains their relationship? Ferris domineers Cameron. Ferris is always talking over Cameron, ignoring his feelings and bullying him into complying with his wishes. Moreover, did you ever notice that Ferris constantly shames Cameron for not being an impulsive twat, then blames him for nearly everything?

With friends like that…

4) He treats his girlfriend like shit.

Speaking of people who had to be abuse victims, you know Sloane Peterson (played by Mia Sara) had a mother who told her shit like “You look fat when you cry.” That’s why she never shows any emotion. It’s perfect training for later in life when Ferris (or some ass-wipe just like him) slaps her around every time she shows any semblance of a personality.

Do you have a better explanation for why the hottest girl in that high school puts up with a future (and sooner than he thinks) limp-dick like Ferris? She could be dating the quarterback of the football team, the guy who his his own sweet care (not one stolen from his friend’s dad), or the captain of the chess club who is going to end up as a brain surgeon floating on money.

But no. Since she’s been primed with years of emotional abuse, she seeks out a jerk-off like Ferris. That’s why she puts up with being ordered around and buys his phony marriage proposal after he’s told the viewers she’s basically getting the “come-and-dump” treatment once Ferris heads for college.

5) Principal Rooney was just doing his job.

OK, I get it. Once upon a time, we we all teen-agers, we all cut school, and we all hated the authority figure known as the principal. He’s the closest thing most of us will ever get to a prison warden. Being a dick is his job. Considering all the shit Ferris has pulled during his time in that high school, it’s perfectly understandable that Rooney would love nothing more than to boil Ferris in his own sauce.

Like I said, Principal Ed Rooney (played by Jeffery Jones) is one of two honest important characters in this movie. Frankly, I spent almost the entire film cheering Rooney on. Yes, I was that kid who wanted to see Wile E. Coyote catch that fucking Roadrunner just once. Rooney has his Coyote moment when he does the one thing where he loses me; he commits a felony when he breaks into the Bueller family home and deservedly gets the shit kicked out of him.

That’s really the problem with Rooney and the Coyote. There’s an old saying about the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Like always, Ferris the Roadrunner gets away with his bullshit becaue Rooney the Coyote can’t stop finding ways to fall off the same 10,000-foot in a single six-minute cartoon.

5) How many times should Ferris have ended up in the slammer?

The fact that Jeanie is the one who ends up in a police station was nearly the final straw for me. Stop and think about how many crimes Ferris commits just in the course of this movie. Back in the day, serial truancy could land you in some hot water, but that’s small change compared to some of the other things.

Let’s start with the restaurant scene. Impersonating Abe Frohman, the sausage king of Chicago is largely harmless, but who paid for that lunch? You know “Abe Frohman” charged it to his tab, which turns harmless prank into theft by swindle and what we call today identity fraud…both felonies.

How did they get to the restaurant in the first place? Everybody just loves to overlook that their “joyride” is actually grand theft auto. Not to mention once the cops found out false pretense were used to get Sloane out of school, you can tack on a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The coup de grâce comes in the form of computer piracy. Remember when Ferris hacks the school computers to alter his attendance record. That’s a federal offense, and you would think Matthew Broderick would have learned his lesson about that from WarGames.

But no…

6) The type-casting of Edie McClurg.

recurring feature in this series is noting a phenomenon I call “reverse typecasting.” This happens when when you see an actor who played a role in something which became part of this country’s cultural fabric, and even when you see them in something made before their face became associated with an iconic character, that’s all you can see.  

While she could easily be considered on of the great character actors of all-time (just look at her IMDB page) there are generations of people who will only know for for pulling pencils out of her hair and laying that “righteous dude” line on us.

7) “Real life” really wrecked this movie.

In reality, this movie is supposed to be a comedy. But I have a rule about such films; all great comedies must contain at least one “laugh out loud” moment. Where’s that moment in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? It doesn’t have one, which is why I think it really could be a mystery, or a live-action version of the Coyote/Roadrunner cartoons.

But reality is what really makes re-watching this movie impossible, largely because because of what we discovered about the actors who played the aforementioned two honest important characters. When I found out the Jeffery Jones later became a convicted sex offender by pleading “No Contest” to charges of hiring a 14-year old boy to pose for sexually explicit photos…well, it put his obsessive pursuit of Ferris Bueller into a whole new light.

If pedophilia weren’t enough for you, how about some good old-fashioned pseudo-incest? Now, I know Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey weren’t really brother and sister, but the fact the played so on-set, then were playing “slap nd tickle” off-set is still disturbing, especially when it comes to how we found out about their canoodling.

8 ) Even Alan Ruck hated this movie.

See what I just said about type-casting. That’s exactly what happened to Alan Ruck. By his own account, he spent years not able to find work in Hollywood because every casting director could only see “Cameron.” He was down to tending bar and working at Sears to pay his bills.

I completely understand that. This is the second movie I’ve written about since my return from a medical hiatus this summer; the first one also featured Alan Ruck. Even now, I can still see Cameron.

The problem with that is Cameron doesn’t make the list of “honest important characters” for one big reason. He’s a sympathetic character (yeah, I can overlook his co-conspirator status in the fraud to spring Sloane from school) until he cashes in his “Eeyore” chip when he freaks out and starts smashing everything in sight. At that point, you begin to understand why he tolerates the treatment he gets from Ferris.

That’s when everyone realizes Cameron is just a big ball of self-loathing, and he never does anything about it. Instead, he’s all about a bunch of passive-aggressive bullshit, and destroys a bunch of property instead dealing with his actual problem. That’s the same time I figured out that Cameron is the poster-child for the abused continuing the cycle by becoming abusers. In other words, Cameron is just an unlikeable as Ferris.

That’s me, though…every else fuckcing loves Ferris.

Conclusion:

Ferris Bueller is a self-centered dick who always gets his own way, and he doesn’t care who gets screwed over for his benefit. I spent this whole movie waiting for this little twerp to get his come-uppance, but I also figured out early why it was never going to happen.

That’s why I’ve always envisioned a sequel which could go one of two ways. The first involves Ferris becoming a completely amoral corporate executive type…or worse yet, a politician. The second centers on the wheel of karma revolving to catch up to him, and he finally pays the price for his shenanigans. In my mind, they both end with Ferris getting raped and murdered in prison.


You can see all the movies I hate here.

Check out Dubsism’s Movies and Blog-A-Thons page for a full schedule of projects past, present, and future!

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Tags: Classic Movies, Classic Movies My Wife Hates, Movies, Polls

About J-Dub

What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

10 comments on “Movies Everybody Loves That I Hate – Episode 15: “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

  1. SportsChump
    November 20, 2022

    I can sum up my rebuttal to all this anti-Ferris nonsense with the advice a perfectly prophetic Charlie Sheen gives Ferris’ sister at the end of the movie, for she too misunderstood his joie de vivre.

    “Basically… your problem is you. You should spend a little more time dealing with yourself and a little less time worrying about Ferris. That’s just an opinion.”

    Like

    • J-Dub
      November 22, 2022

      Charlie Sheen is your voice of reason…I rest my case.

      Like

  2. Silver Screenings
    November 20, 2022

    You’ll get no argument from me re: Ferris as Narcissist. He really would be intolerable in real life.

    The most interesting theory I’ve heard about this film is that Ferris is Cameron’s imaginary alter ego. The last time I saw this movie, I watched it in this frame of mind and it was pretty trippy.

    P.S. I hope things are getting better in your world.

    Like

    • J-Dub
      November 22, 2022

      Life is good. And Cameron as the alter ego…I like It!

      Like

      • SportsChump
        November 26, 2022

        Ferris Bueller’s Fight Club Day Off?

        Like

  3. Brian Schuck
    November 21, 2022

    Wow, and here I thought I was alone in the universe in intensely disliking Ferris Bueller – for all the reasons you so articulately lay out! It’s an unsettling feeling when you go to a movie and afterwards all your friends/family are raving and you’re thinking “holy crap, what was that?” FB is a mean-spirited movie from beginning to end, and to enjoy it is like laughing over someone kicking a homeless person in the kidneys. Your ultimate judgement is spot on – it doesn’t have a single authentic laugh.

    Like

    • J-Dub
      November 22, 2022

      I also mentioned being alone on this. I know the feeling!

      Like

  4. John L. Harmon
    November 21, 2022

    Awesome review!
    I saw Ferris bueller’s Day off when I was a kid and I remember liking it, but I haven’t seen it since then and I’ve often wondered why. Now I think I know why. It’s because I’ve grown up and subconsciously realized a lot of what you mentioned. However, I remember liking his sister way more than him, so maybe I always kind of felt that way about the movie.

    Like

    • J-Dub
      November 22, 2022

      Jeanie was an awesome character until she listened to Charlie Sheen and rolled to bail out Ferris.

      Like

  5. rebeccadeniston
    November 25, 2022

    THANK YOU. I’ve never really liked this movie (“Pretty In Pink” was so much better in my opinion) and you’ve summed up the reasons why. The only thing good about it is Ben Stein but even he can’t save Ferris. Thanks so much for joining the blogathon, J-Dub–this was awesome.

    Like

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This entry was posted on November 20, 2022 by in Humor, Movies and tagged , , , .

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